James Heale James Heale

Rwanda rebels fold to guarantee Sunak victory

Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images

The Rwanda Bill will tonight pass its Third Reading in the House of Commons, after right-wing rebels threw in the towel. Speaking after a meeting of the so-called ‘five families’, rebel sources confirmed that a majority of members from the European Research Group (ERG) and Common Sense Group (CSG) will be voting with the government tonight. A minority are expected to vote against the legislation on principle. Estimates for the number of Tories who are likely to oppose the government on its flagship legislation are in the region of 10 MPs; rather than the 30-odd which would be put the legislation at risk of a humiliating defeat.

Around 40 Conservative MPs attended the meeting tonight, with Jacob Rees-Mogg among those to subsequently confirm that they will be voting with the government later this evening. There was disquiet at some of the alleged threats used to entice MPs from the 2019 intake to vote in line with the government tonight. But for the Whips’ Office, the passage of the Safety of Rwanda Bill at Third Reading in the Commons will be a significant triumph. It is the third time they have managed to overcome vocal opposition from the ERG, following the Bill’s Second Reading and the Windsor Framework vote last year. Attention now turns to the Lords, where the government does not command a majority. For Rishi Sunak and his allies, it will be a satisfying end to a very long day.

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